The Commute
  • Carol McGregor, 'Skin Country', 2018, possum skins, charcoal, ochre, binder medium, waxed thread. Installation view: 'The Commute', Institute of Modern Art, 2018. Photography: Carl Warner

  • Ahilapalapa Rands, 'Lift Off', 2018, 3-channel animation, 3:25. Installation view: 'The Commute', Institute of Modern Art, 2018. Photography: Carl Warner

  • Chantal Fraser, 'The Way', 2018, wind turbine, generator, rhinestones, steel. Installation view: 'The Commute', Institute of Modern Art, 2018. Photography: Carl Warner

  • Lisa Hilli, 'Sisterhood Lifeline', 2018, latex ink on wallpaper, inkjet print on cotton rag paper, office partitions, iMac, office telephone with vocal recordings, books, Post-It notes, pens, swivel chair. Installation view: 'The Commute', Institute of Modern Art, 2018. Photography: Carl Warner

  • Hannah Brontë, 'FUTCHA ANCIENT', 2018, lightboxes, photographic prints, textiles, ink, shell. Installation view: 'The Commute', Institute of Modern Art, 2018. Photography: Carl Warner

  • T’uy’tanat Cease Wyss, 'Nexwníw̓ Tkwi Sxwí7shen (Teachings from the Deer)', from the 'Sacred Teachings' series, 2018. 360-degree VR video, 6:08. Photography: Louis Lim

  • Installation view: 'The Commute', Institute of Modern Art, 2018. In view: Natalie Ball, 'I Bind You Nancy', 2018, coyote skull with lower jaw, sinew thread, vintage plastic dolls, beaded deer hide moccasins. Photography: Louis Lim

  • 'The Commute' exhibition opening. Photo: Markus Ravik.

  • 'The Commute' exhibition opening. Photo: Markus Ravik.

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The Commute

22 September–22 December 201822 Sep–22 Dec 2018

#TheCommute

Commuting between centres and edges, between cities and countrysides, and between worlds is increasingly normal— necessary even. A commute or regular journey of some distance to and from one’s workplace is something many of us engage in on a daily basis. A commute as a multidirectional trip not only takes one to work but also leads one home and to places of learning and social/political connection. If we take this as fact, then we understand commuting as comprising two key factors, place and travel.

Through networks of migration, trade, and exchange engendered in both deep time and every day, place and travel become integral to contemporary Indigenous experience. Perhaps we can understand migration, trade, and exchange as forms of commuting, and understand ourselves as commuting cultures. So, then commuting also requires vigilance of the forces driving our understanding of place and movement, such as displacement, diaspora, and ecological devastation across various territories.

Drawing from the experiences of commuting cultures, the IMA Visiting Curators present The Commute. This exhibition encompasses a series of commissioned projects by artists located around the Great Ocean, also known as the Pacific Rim, who assert complex, wide-ranging, contemporary Indigenous experiences inclusive of both ancestral knowledges and global connections. The Visiting Curators have worked closely with eight Indigenous artists, Natalie Ball (Modoc, Klamath, Black), Hannah Brontë (Yaegel), Bracken Hanuse Corlett (Wuikinuxv, Klahoose), Chantal Fraser (Sāmoa), Lisa Hilli (Gunantuna), Carol McGregor (Wathaurung, Scottish), Ahilapalapa Rands (Kanaka Maoli, iTaukei Viti, Pākehā), and T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss (Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh, Stó:lō, Irish, Métis, Kanaka Maoli, Swiss).

The Commute is a collaborative project led by Indigenous curators Freja Carmichael (Quandamooka), Sarah Biscarra Dilley (yak tityu tityu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash, Chicana), Léuli Eshrāghi (Sāmoa, Irānzamin, Guangdong), Tarah Hogue (Métis, Dutch) and Lana Lopesi (Sāmoa), invited as 2018 Visiting Curators at the IMA.

On a basic level, commuting describes the way in which the international group of Indigenous Visiting Curators are working with the IMA, the exhibiting artists and pockets of the local community. But in a greater sense, it also encapsulates the mobile yet located nature of being Indigenous today. Rather than attempting to package such diverse experiences neatly within a conceptual framework, The Commute explores the mess, the entanglements and the disparities of contemporary Indigenous experiences.

“Never before have such a diverse group of Indigenous people centred their own concerns and voices, from concept to outcome, by curating themselves”—Runway, ‘Vital & Vibrant: The Commute at Institute of Modern Art’, October 2018

“It’s immediately apparent that a great amount of care and patience has occurred in the conversations between artists and curators. Each piece in the space flows into the next, in the same way that the waters belonging to both curator and artist do. The most striking thing about this exhibition is the feeling of time standing still and no longer existing in the linear. The combination of ancestral practices, new technologies and materials sing to each other in language, illustrating this timelessness and resistance to colonial subjugation. It is a reminder of the unspoken and deep solidarity that unites First Nations peoples. It is also a gentle reminder of the power that exists in the cultural practice of caring and customary lore of offerings when visiting the lands of other Nations.—Un Magazine, ‘Reviews: The Commute’, October 2018

The Commute is supported by the IMA and has received assistance from the Australia Council for the Arts, Australian Government through the Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Creative New Zealand, Canada Council for the Arts, Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, and Queensland Government through Arts Queensland in partnership with Brisbane City Council.

  

Artists

Natalie Ball, Hannah Brontë, Bracken Hanuse Corlett, Chantal Fraser, Lisa Hilli, Carol McGregor, Ahilapalapa Rands, and T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss.

Visiting Curators
  • Freja Carmichael
  • Sarah Biscarra Dilley
  • Léuli Eshrāghi
  • Tarah Hogue
  • Lana Lopesi
Off-Site Venues
Artist Bios
Natalie Ball
Modoc, Klamath, Black

makes art as proposals of refusal, without absolutes, to complicate an easily affirmed and consumed narrative and identity. Her work uses materiality and gesture to create power objects that refuse the spectacle in relation to American history of settler colonialism, and her communities.

Hannah Brontë
Yaegel

is an artist and DJ whose practice focuses on developing female and Indigenous empowerment. Influenced by her love for rap and the power of spoken word, she explores language in popular culture, hip-hop, and slang.

is an artist and DJ whose practice focuses on developing female and Indigenous empowerment. Influenced by her love for rap and the power of spoken word, she explores language in popular culture, hip-hop, and slang.

Hannah Brontë
Yaegel
Bracken Hanuse Corlett
Wuikinuxv, Klahoose

is an interdisciplinary artist who has studied Northwest Coast art, carving and design. His work fuses painting and drawing with digital-media, audio-visual performance, animation and narrative. He has received recent public art commissions from the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Mural Festival, and is a recipient of the BC Creative Achievement Award for First Nations Art.

Chantal Fraser
Sāmoa

is an interdisciplinary artist interested in the binary and ternary connotations of adornment and silhouette when presented in varying artistic contexts. Her work questions reader relevance by subverting the perpetual cultural and anthropological interpretations of the objects made.

is an interdisciplinary artist interested in the binary and ternary connotations of adornment and silhouette when presented in varying artistic contexts. Her work questions reader relevance by subverting the perpetual cultural and anthropological interpretations of the objects made.

Chantal Fraser
Sāmoa
Lisa Hilli
Gunantuna

prioritises Indigenous knowledge and matrilineal systems to subvert colonial and Western histories contained within ethnographic and archival material. The representation of the black female body and the politics of hair are ongoing themes that the artist explores through photographic and textile practices.

Carol McGregor
Wathaurung, Scottish

works across multi-media disciplines with materials including ephemeral natural fibres, metal, and paper. Her recent art practice revives the traditional possum skin cloak as an art form and a way to strengthen community and individual identities.

works across multi-media disciplines with materials including ephemeral natural fibres, metal, and paper. Her recent art practice revives the traditional possum skin cloak as an art form and a way to strengthen community and individual identities.

Carol McGregor
Wathaurung, Scottish
Ahilapalapa Rands
Kanaka Maoli, iTaukei Viti, Pākehā

uses performance, video and storytelling to explore and articulate intersections of Indigenous experience. Much of her work reflects and shifts around processes of reconnection to her cultures, weaving contemporary with historical Indigenous knowledge.

T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss
Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh, Stó:lō, Irish, Métis, Kanaka Maoli, Swiss

is an interdisciplinary artist whose work in new media, performance and community engaged projects spans over twenty-five years. Her work focuses on sustainability, Coast Salish cultural elements, ethnobotany, and digital media. Wyss is an emerging weaver, working with traditional techniques in wool and cedar.

is an interdisciplinary artist whose work in new media, performance and community engaged projects spans over twenty-five years. Her work focuses on sustainability, Coast Salish cultural elements, ethnobotany, and digital media. Wyss is an emerging weaver, working with traditional techniques in wool and cedar.

T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss
Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh, Stó:lō, Irish, Métis, Kanaka Maoli, Swiss
Curator Bios

is a Ngugi woman belonging to the Quandamooka People of Moreton Bay. She is a curator working alongside artists and communities on diverse exhibition projects and is currently the inaugural Macquarie Group collection First Nations emerging curator and a member of Blaklash Collective.

Freja Carmichael
Quandamooka
Freja Carmichael
Quandamooka

is a Ngugi woman belonging to the Quandamooka People of Moreton Bay. She is a curator working alongside artists and communities on diverse exhibition projects and is currently the inaugural Macquarie Group collection First Nations emerging curator and a member of Blaklash Collective.

Sarah Biscarra Dilley
yak tityu tityu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash, Chicana

is an artist, curator, and writer residing in the unceded homeland of the Chochenyo (Ohlone) at Huichin. A member of yak tityu tityu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash tribe, she works with cut paper, archival material, handwork, language, and relation to illustrate place-making, displacement, and home.

is an artist, curator and writer visiting Kulin Nation territory who hails from the Sāmoan archipelago, Pārs plateau and other ancestries. Ia work centres on ceremonial-political practices, language renewal, and Indigenous futures throughout the Great Ocean.

Léuli Eshrāghi
Sāmoa, Irānzamin, Guangdong
Léuli Eshrāghi
Sāmoa, Irānzamin, Guangdong

is an artist, curator and writer visiting Kulin Nation territory who hails from the Sāmoan archipelago, Pārs plateau and other ancestries. Ia work centres on ceremonial-political practices, language renewal, and Indigenous futures throughout the Great Ocean.

Tarah Hogue
Métis, Dutch

is a curator, writer and uninvited guest on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories/Vancouver, B.C. Her work engages collaborative methodologies and a careful attentiveness to place in order to decentre colonial modes of perception within institutional spaces. She is the inaugural Senior Curatorial Fellow, Indigenous Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

is an art critic and writer based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand. Lana is currently the Editor-in-Chief for The Pantograph Punch, Editor for Design Assembly and founding editor of #500words.

Lana Lopesi
Sāmoa
Lana Lopesi
Sāmoa

is an art critic and writer based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand. Lana is currently the Editor-in-Chief for The Pantograph Punch, Editor for Design Assembly and founding editor of #500words.

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We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands where the IMA now stands, and pay respect to Elders, past, present, and emerging.

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